Leading a teaching team

ADMINISTRATION     LEARNING & TEACHING     SUPPORT                                     
Managing the team                  Coordinators as leaders                 Learning to lead   


We wish to acknowledge the following resource, which helped us to compile this page: Leading a teaching team from the learning and teaching resources of The University of Sydney’s Business School.

Coordinators as leaders

Your role as coordinator of a unit of study (UoS) includes:

  • developing/reviewing the unit design, drawing upon previous evaluation, including Unit of Study Evaluation (USE) results, peer feedback, and your own reflections if you have taught the unit previously
  • ensuring that assessment strategies are clearly related to the unit learning activities and outcomes and that they apply relevant Assessment @ Sydney principles
  • ensuring that the unit of study outline is available to students on or before the first day of semester, and that links to relevant policies are included
  • managing the effective implementation of the unit, including responding, as relevant, to feedback during the semester from students, tutors, peers, and so on
  • supervising and providing support and information, where needed, to all others on the teaching team, to ensure the consistency of quality, process and content
  • ensuring that the learning experience of all students in the unit is equitable and is as active as possible.

When leading the teaching team, you may be responsible for some or all of the following additional leadership roles:

  • appointing sessional staff according to the procedures of your local area, and allocating classes to these staff members. See Preparing sessional staff.
  • organising service teaching components within the UoS. See Service teaching.
  • coordinating team teaching activities with colleagues. See Team teaching.
Leading a teaching team

Some approaches to managing a teaching team

a) Remember that people work better when they feel a valued part of the team.

b) Meet before the semester to share key information and ideas and keep in regular contact throughout the semester.

c) Establish clear guidelines, in consultation with your teaching team where possible, on the desired outcomes for the unit of study, the learning activities, the nature of the assessment tasks and grading criteria, and the expectations of everyone’s input.

d) Check faculty rules regarding UoS requirements, policies regarding assessment, grading etc, and communicate these to the teaching team. It can be helpful to check these at the beginning of each semester, as they may have changed.

e) Communicate clearly the local processes for handling student issues – eg policies on late assessment submission and special consideration or ways to handle student misdemeanours. This supports and informs sessional staff, and others on the team who may not be a part of your department or faculty.

f) Coordinate with the team so that colleagues have a clear idea of their obligations to the students, and ensure that students, in turn, are clear about what is expected from them. See Staff/student responsibilities.

g) Establish good relationships with your administration colleagues and consider them part of the team. Find out what responsibilities they have in administering the unit, and what other assistance you may be able to negotiate with them if you have very large student numbers. Students may expect a lot from administrative staff, so also clarify what admin colleagues don’t need to do. Also, determine protocols – for example:

  • If assessments are submitted as hard copy, inform admin colleages of assessment deadlines.
  • If your admin colleagues organise student notes with the University Print Service (UPS), what are the submission deadlines? See Reading materials.
  • If the admin team have a role in updating online information about your unit of study, make sure to inform them in good time of any changes.

Learning to lead

The Institute of Teaching and Learning (ITL) has an online program for Leading learning and teaching.

Leadership courses within the University
If you are new to the role of coordinating, or to the university in general, you may also find it useful to develop your management and leadership skills through the courses offered by Learning Solutions.

Building academic leadership
“Academic leadership: Fundamental building blocks”, an ALTC publication, is a program designed to assist you in identifying and acquiring the variety of skills and knowledge required in academic leadership roles. The ALTC information is free to share and adapt, as long as credit is given to the inventors of the framework.